Joey Galloway has never been one to forget where he came from.
After all, the former Bellaire Big Red, Ohio State Buckeye and 16-year NFL performer has presented his high school football (John Magistro) and basketball (Gene Ammirante) coaches with expensive vehicles for their work with him as a youth.
He has also donated to various organizations in the Ohio Valley, not just Bellaire, be it financially or with speaking engagements.
JOEY GALLOWAY, far right, signed autographs for fans prior to Friday night’s Wheeling Nailers game at WesBanco Arena during Relay at the Rink. Pictured are his two sons, from left, Michael and Jett and wife, Tyra.
Friday night, however, the 'Bellaire Bullet' was in the valley to help promote a special cause - the fight against cancer. He, along with his wife Tyra, two sons (Michael 3, Jett 1) and two brothers (James and Curtis) were guests of the Wheeling Nailers during Relay at the Rink.
Prior to dropping the ceremonial first puck for the Nailers' game with the Toledo Walleye, Galloway, who completed his first season as a college football analyst for ESPN last fall, signed autographs for fans attending the game at WesBanco Arena.
"I always enjoy coming back to the Ohio Valley because I get so much support from people," the Columbus resident revealed. "Not only Bellaire fans, but people from Martins Ferry, St. Clairsville, Wheeling ... ."
As for his broadcasting debut.
"It was very interesting," he explained. "It was a learning experience. They don't give you much coaching. You show up and go to work. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to next season."
Living in the Buckeye State capital now, Galloway admittedly spends a lot of time around Ohio State football practices.
So, what does he think the Scarlet and Gray will do in head coach Urban Meyer's second season after a spotless 12-0 mark last fall?
"I think they will go undefeated again," he boldly stated without hesitation. "They will be better than they were last season, and their schedule is a little weaker this year. I think they will go undefeated."
He is also very impressed with Meyer.
"I've had the opportunity to sit in coaches meetings and team meetings with him," Galloway said of the Buckeyes' second-year head coach. "He is as impressive of a coach as anyone I've ever been around."
His thoughts on junior quarterback Braxton Miller?
"A unique talent. He is probably more dangerous with his legs than he is with his arm. He has the ability to go the distance at any time during a game, but that is what college football is heading to that type of quarterback. He may be one of the best one's out there."
In addition to his love for football, he is also passionate about NASCAR and hockey.
"I had a chance to attend the Daytona 500 six years ago, and I haven't missed one since," he admitted. "Being there and seeing what goes on behind the scenes was really interesting. That's what got me hooked on NASCAR."
He revealed that Matt Kenseth is his favorite driver, even though Kenseth switched teams this year.
"I'm a Ford guy," Galloway stressed. "I'll still stick with him."
He also likes Brad Keselowski.
As far as hockey goes, he is a Columbus Blue Jacket fan because of his close proximity to the team, but at heart his loyalties are with the surging Pittsburgh Penguins.
"Because I grew up close to Pittsburgh, I've always loved the Penguins," Galloway added. "They are on some kind of a roll right now. The Blue Jackets are also playing well."
After playing for half-a-dozen different NFL franchises (Seattle, Dallas, Tampa Bay, New England, Pittsburgh and Washington), did he have a favorite or non-favorite?
"To make it to that level and play at that level for that many years, it was a blessing," he allowed. "So it would be tough to just pick out one and say it was the best or worst. It was a terrific 16 years and I thank God for every one of them."
When asked what his future plans are, he replied, "I am going to once again call games for ESPN next fall. I want to improve upon my skills because this is my profession now. Besides that, I just want to hang out and raise my family."
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org